Everything I Touch Turns to ... Nothing Whatsoever

>> Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I have been reflecting a little bit on my life, and I think perhaps I have a hidden streak of really bad luck that I never noticed before.  Obviously, I am not getting too much trauma out of the situation, but I am beginning to think that perhaps venerated institutions should think carefully before affiliating themselves with me.

Let's review my track record here.

My elementary school was not shockingly old when I attended.  It was solid, brick, one-story ... and is now an administration building.  They converted it years and years (sadly, and years) ago.  All the other elementary schools in our district were renovated.  Mine was shut down.

My junior high ... is also not a junior high anymore.  They didn't even bother renovating it.  They just shut it down and built a new one across town.  Okay, to be fair, they moved my elementary school into one of the floors, converted the rest into offices, and moved all the junior high school kids across town.

My high school barely escaped my legacy, suffering only a major renovation the year before I graduated.  As one of our graduation speakers explained so well, we went from being freshmen who couldn't find their way around the new building, to seniors ... who couldn't find our way around the new building.  I still have these somewhat confused dreams from time to time about the old building, and the new building, all sorta blended into one.  I find it very disconcerting, like I went to two different high schools, but with all the same people and all the same teachers.

Not even Harvard Law School was immune to my powers.  I entered as a 1L in the final year of pre-renovated Langdell Library.  For my entire 2L year, the library was held in a conference room with limited books available quickly.  (In theory, all were available from archives, but let's just say that legal research via internet was strongly encouraged ... really strongly encouraged ... all the law firms loved that.)  By the time we got back into the newly renovated library in our 3L year, the inside of the building was so different people didn't even enter and exit from the same story as before.  Gone was the somewhat creepy twisty stairs leading to the stacks, where if you met someone coming up while you were going down, you met on the landing and negotiated who would yield.  (Interestingly enough, you still have to do that in some portions of Patee Library at Penn State, despite the rampant renovations up there, so at least some small portions of this world are too big and stubborn to succumb to whatever this influence I seem to have.  Nonetheless, Penn State did dismantle my major, which, too, is no more.)

As if all this weren't bad enough, I recently found out that the church where Darling Husband and I got married has switched denominations.  I just don't even know what to say about that.  Am I still allowed to go visit when I go to that town?  What is the protocol here?  I've never heard of such a thing.

When Darling Husband and I were planning our wedding, we talked with the people who sold the china we wanted.  We didn't want to register for something that was quickly going to be discontinued.  They assured me that the pattern we wanted was one of the most popular and should be around for years and years before hitting the rotation to be discontinued.  I don't think we even lasted 6 months before our pattern was on the list. 

I almost managed to get the pattern for my favorite Christmas dishes discontinued, too.  Shortly after we started collecting them, the company came out with a replacement.  Thankfully, the masses went into near panic, because the company eventually changed its mind and decide instead to have "new style" and "old style" versions of the pattern.  (The "new style" hardly even blends or contrasts with the old style even if you wanted to mix and match.  Instead, they nearly clash, so you should probably read, "new style" as short for "New pattern I wanted to give the same name as the old pattern but no one would let me so I'm just making it up as I go along and trying to make it look intentional".)  Whew!  My powers are not quite as strong as the legacy of a holiday china pattern that is older than me.  Thank goodness for some favors.

I got my first apartment that didn't require me to share a bathroom in 1998.  I used much of the last of the money in my checking account to buy a nice set of bookshelves so my apartment looked like perhaps a young professional was moving in, rather than someone borrowing her grandmother's antique sofa and a chair her mother got from licking Greenstamps until her tongue fell off.  The full set, as displayed at IKEA, was inexpensive but not cheap, fake redwood consisting of two tall bookcases, two short bookcases, a corner piece, two clip on lamps for the tall bookcase, and two extenders to go on top of the tall bookcases -- 9 pieces total.   I figured, being prudent with my plastic, the best I could do was buy the two tall bookcases, the two short ones, and the clip on lamps (since light was at a premium in my apartment after the sun moved to the other side of the building).  The extenders and the beautiful corner piece would have to wait six months or so until I could be sure not to get snowed under.  The first paycheck was due in a few weeks, and I was only getting paid monthly, so I had to be careful.  Of course, within four months, the fake redwood color had been discontinued.  My choices were blonde, brown, and some shade of honey.  No corner, no extenders, nothing in red for me.  (*sigh*) 

I have had trouble waiting to buy anything I wanted from that moment on.  I think about this fiasco every time I try to make an addition to that set, which still lives in my living room more than 10 years later.  I am proud to say it stood the test of time, and it looks very nice with real cherry wood furniture.  Finding matching pieces has cost more per piece than the original set did in its entirety, though.

And ... my luck doesn't end with dishes and furniture.

When I was in my "need suits and matched clothing" stage of life, only one store made things that fit me well without alteration:  Petite Sophisticate.  RIP, Petite Sophisticate.  I am largely responsible for how quick the close-out sales were at the stores in the final days, and I still haven't found a good replacement.  My PS suits got me at least three jobs, if not more.  If only I had bought more while they were around, maybe they would still be here.

I am hopeful that this curse is mine and mine alone, but I fear the trait may be genetic.  When Toddler was in his "fed by tube" stage, and we tried to get him to drink something ... anything ... the only beverage he would tolerate was an orange flavored pediatric drink that was discontinued mere months after we finally found it.  Believe me, I bought every bottle of that stuff I could find in any store in the tri-state area, and we rationed it like liquid gold, but eventually we ran out.  He survived, but every once in a while he asks, "Mommy, orange milk?" 

I can only hope that since I am the one who found the "orange milk," and since he is my son, that my curse is ruling his life.  When he moves out on his own, perhaps he will find that the curse stays with me and he will finally be free.

I hope so.


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